Every year, as the days get longer and the last remnants of the final snow begin to melt, the classic Northeastern beach towns—like Nantucket and the Hamptons—come alive. But the approach of summer also means the inevitable flock of beachgoers. Restaurants are impossible to get into, lines for ice cream go down the entire block, and you’re lucky if you get enough space on the beach for yourself let alone a towel and umbrella.
But fear not. There’s a slew of trendy or newly renovated hotels located in these coastal enclaves and your perfect summer getaway—sans crowds—is only a few hours north on the I-95. For those looking for a more laid-back alternative, try visiting some of these hidden beach towns. For example, Shelter Island, New York—a.k.a. the Hamptons much chiller neighbor—boasts all the coastline views and style of the more popular summer hotspot, but with a quieter and, some may say, more sophisticated feel. Madison, Connecticut, meanwhile, boasts trendy boutiques and pristine views of the Long Island Sound. And then there' s Castine, Maine with its fabulous food and rich seafaring history.
Said another way: these spots are where to go for the same quintessential New England charm and way less people to bump into while chowing down on a fresh lobster roll.